‘We’re standing for what we believe in’: Local students join national walkout

Hundreds of students across the Edmonds School District joined a nationwide walkout on Wednesday morning to remember those killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. exactly one month ago and to encourage legislators to pass what they call common sense gun legislation.

Protests across the country began at 10 a.m. and lasted for 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed in Parkland.

In the Edmonds School District, demonstrations were varied and included several middle and high schools. A walkout at Lynnwood High School had an estimated 200 students gather and sit on the football field for 17 minutes. At Meadowdale High School, about 200 students spoke and formed a heart while a student’s drone photographed them from above. At Edmonds-Woodway High School, where approximately 200 students gathered in the school courtyard, a table was set up for students to write messages and postcards conveying their sympathies to those in Parkland. In Mountlake Terrace, 250 students made a ring around the high school track. Scriber Lake High School and Edmonds Heights K-12 students were also among the schools represented in the walkout, with an estimated 40 and 75 students participating respectively.

“Hey, hey, we’re no fools. Stop the guns, protect our schools,” chanted Scriber Lake students, who had walked from the school to the corner of Edmonds Way and 100th Avenue West.

“I’m very scared and nervous,” said Kyra Wasbrekke, a senior at Scriber Lake High School. “The gun violence issue affects everyone from every type of school. It broke my heart seeing the coverage of the Florida shooting. We need to do everything we can to make sure our youth can get an education safely. It’s a political matter and it needs to be handled now.”

Jasmine Smith, a sophomore at Scriber, is also feeling scared. But on Wednesday morning she was also feeling something else.

“Seeing all of us out here and knowing it’s going on nationwide is really exciting,” she said. “Everyone is contributing, and the energy is there. I’m really hopeful this will be what we need to start some change.”

Elsewhere in the district, other groups gathered on school grounds and shared ideas.

“Enough is enough,” said Meadowdale student Carrie Petersen. “I think it’s time that we make a change.”

“Your right to own an AR-15 is not worth any child’s life,” said one Meadowdale student.

“Open your eyes. This isn’t right,” added another.

For students at Lynnwood High School, the walkout was also meant to signal to legislators that they want stronger gun control laws.

Holding a sign that declared “Never Again,” sophomore Isabeau Rosen said, “There are a lot of people who are afraid to go to school. That should not happen.”

She added that schools should be a safe place of learning, and that is not possible without gun control.

Junior Johnkea Marshall said she walked out to show the government she wants change.

“We are the future,” she said. “We’re standing for what we believe in.”

She said her generation will be in office within 10 years, and she wants lawmakers to know where they stand on gun legislation.

Sophomore Brian Nguyen wanted to represent those killed one month ago in Florida, but also said its important for students to stand up for gun control because they are the ones mostly affected by school shootings.

Outside Edmonds-Woodway High School, a few adults stood on the sidewalk to show their support for students walking out.

““We are here for the right to be safe in school,” said Mollie Brown, who was outside with her 2-year-old son. “They are our future and that is all that matters.”

The night before the walkout, the Edmonds School Board unanimously passed a resolution in support of sensible gun safety legislation. During the board’s discussion Tuesday night, Board Member Diana White said it was time for action.

“I’m encouraged by what we see from our students,” she said. “Them leading the way on this whole thing will really make a difference.”

Students who participated in the walkout will be marked absent or tardy, unless a parent excuses the absence, district spokeswoman Debbie Joyce Jakala said.

— Reporting by Natalie Covate, Larry Vogel, Julia Wiese and Lily Caldwell

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